“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it…
The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”
[John 1, 1:14]

Brescia, 8th December – every year of my life
Holidays time. Winter. The weather is usually super cold, days are short, nights are foggy and icy. Today Xmas atmosphere comes to the city and in the family. For Christian is the celebration of Virgo Mary born without faults. We are at home, and I am building the representation of Jesus’ birth. There are shepherds, sheep, the small lake, craftsman, the star, the donkey and the ox. There are Saint Mary, Saint Joseph. Jesus is apart, alone, waiting. we will put it there the 24th night when the church bells will start ringing.

Addis Ababa, 24th December 2011
Xmas Mass. The reader is proclaiming the Verb. Darkness. unexpectedly, power is off. All around is dark, no lights, no microphone. In few seconds a candel is enlighten, and brought to the reader. All around is silent. The reader continues. In a short while everything is set, and the Mass goes on smoothly.
Is the second time in my all life I am attending a Mass in English, and for the main part of it I don’t really know how does the prayers sound like. But Listening to them I start realizing their meaning, and I feel they make sense to my life.

Every year I have gone to the Christmas Mass, even to more then one to sing, direct the choir, just attend the Mass, be there with some relatives. I have heard these words so many times. I never listened to them the same way I did tonight.
The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.

After this Christmas’ Mass I had no xmas dinner, just some lentils left from lunch, and the usual tea. There was no family, no snow, no nativity in the house neither xmas tree. Just the trial of watching some xmas movie with the people that are currently my family in the other side of the world. No Panettone or Pandoro. The only supermarkets selling them are offering 350 Birr price [15 €]. The price of 1 week food, almost the salary of the main part of low qualified workers.

But after this Christmas’ Mass I received a short video from somewhere in Europe.
Super Sweet, as the chocolate that I did not receive, as the 2 candies Sam gave me in replace.
After this Christmas’ Mass I have appreciated having time to be spent with interesting people. I have discussed big issues of the world: peace, the meaning of democracy, the reasons behind international cooperation policies, the right of intrusion or invasion of some countries into others. And the reasons why this right is never used in specific part of the world, as Eritrea, or Somalia, or South Sudan.
I have done it while watching  Ethiopian youth cooking some traditional food, shiro and injera, to feed homeless. I have done it with them, and it was the very first time for almost all of us. Surprisingly. If I need to sum up my christmas’ in Addis I would quote one of this youth approaching me to confess “at the end, is so easy to donate a smile to a child, Why haven’t I done it before?”

Nairobi, August 2011
500 youth leaders, gathered in one place for AIESEC International Congress 2011.
on the screen one question: What do you stand for?”
“I stand for every child of the world to have the right to smile”.

Now my journey of a thousands mile has started, with the 1st small step. In the right direction.

Merry Christmas’.


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